Monday, February 27, 2006

O, Happy Day! VA to Raise Speed Limit to 70 on I-85

A welcome sight, coming to Virginia this JulyIt has been a long time coming, but the Commonwealth of Virginia is about to join the rest of Red State America on July 1, when the first 70 mph signs appear in the Old Dominion since 1973.

On an 80-20 vote, the Virginia House of Delegates approved Senate Bill 53, which will raise the speed limit from 65 to 70 on I-85 between Petersburg and North Carolina. The bill now goes to Governor Tim Kaine for his signature. Here's an interesting historical note: in 1973, Governor Kaine's father-in-law, then Governor Linwood Holton, signed a bill raising Virginia's interstate speed limit from 65 to 70. Unfortunately, that change was short-lived.

Hopefully, after seeing that I-85 will not run red with blood, the Virginia General Assembly will see fit next year to make more roads eligible for a 70 mph speed limit. Another needed reform will be to amend the reckless driving law. Under Virginia law, driving 20 mph or more over the speed limit or over 80 mph regardless of the speed limit constitutes an automatic charge of reckless driving, punishable by up to a year in jail, a fine of $2,500, a driver's license suspension, and half the points against a Virginia driver's license to trigger another driver's license suspension. The "or over 80 mph regardless of the speed limit" clause should be stricken from this law.